Oswego Speedway preparing for Super Dirt Week racing event
Preparations are underway to ready Oswego Speedway to host the annual Super Dirt Week in October. The major racing event was supposed to take place at the new Central New York Raceway Park in Hastings, but New York officials had to shift gears because of construction delays.
"You’re always going to get the people who don’t like change," said World Racing Group director of events Jeff Hachmann. "The unfortunate thing is they have no choice. We were dealt change and now it’s our job to make Super Dirt Week what it was before."
In the past, Super Dirt Week was hosted at a dirt track on the New York state fairgrounds, which could seat 14,000 people. The Oswego Speedway, which is paved, only has 12,000 seats.
Despite these deficiencies, Hachmann said the Oswego Speedway will be a good replacement because it has plentiful surrounding space for campers and a storied history. Still, officials plan to upgrade the Oswego Speedway's rear grandstands, add electrical lines to an adjacent camping lot and bring in 500-600 truckloads of dirt and clay -- about 9,600 cubic yards' worth.
It will be the first time the Oswego Speedway was covered in dirt since it was built in 1951. It was paved in 1952. The track's public relations director Dan Kapuscinski said it's worth the extra efforts to modify the track because he believes Super Dirt Week will be the largest event the track has ever hosted.
"It’s an unprecedented moment in racing history to have something like this happen," Kapuscinski said. "Our track is 66 years old and it was only dirt for a year and a half of it. So, to bring arguably one of the largest dirt racing event in the country to one of the most iconic pavement facilities is unheard of."
But Kapuscinski admits that the next few months will be hectic. In addition to Super Dirt Week, Oswego Speedway's staff has to prepare for one of its largest races of the year, the Race of Champions in September.
"It’s going to be all hands on deck starting last week, especially for the renovation of the rear grandstand," Kapuscinski said. "From today straight through the opening of the gates it’s going to be a busy time."
New York state plans to help finance some of the major ticket renovations.